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How to buy tickets

Americans are notorious for loving live entertainment, as evidenced by the thousand of live events happening across the country each year. From arena concerts to sporting events to theater, there is no shortage of events for people looking to enjoy live entertainment. For most, finding events worth attending is not the problem, rather the real problem is getting your hands on the actual ticket you need to get into the venue. For the most in-demand shows tickets have been known to sell-out in minutes.

The truth is that for the hottest events, whether it be a concert, sporting event or theater performance, the sheer demand doesn’t match the supply. Many fans complain that automated scalper “bots” cause all the “real” fans to miss out on tickets, and there is certainly an argument to be made there. However Ticketmaster is getting better and better at detecting these bots. The bottom line is that main reason not enough fans get in is because of supply and demand. Because a venue can only hold so many attendees, the demand for tickets far outweighs the supply. But the good news is that as tough as it can be to get tickets to the most popular events, with a little determination and some cash, you can get into pretty much any event you like. Even the Super Bowl, the Master Tournament, Taylor Swift and all the other big concerts aren’t out of the reach of normal fans.

Buying from the venue

Your first stop when trying to buy tickets is to see if you can get them directly from the venue. Call them ahead of time and see how many tickets they put away for purchase at the venue. One good aspect of buying tickets from the venue is that you can eliminate some of the fees associated with purchasing tickets from Ticketmaster. Yes, standing in line can be an inconvenience, but there are a a set number of tickets available for purchase from the box office, plus it lets you cut out some of the fees added on by Ticket Master.


But buying straight from the venue is not always possible for everyone. In that case, for the vast-majority of in-demand tickets you’re going to have to take your chances with Ticketmaster’s onsale lottery. Even with some of the most powerful computers on the planet, there is a limit to how many customers Ticketmaster can handle at any given moment. Especially for the largest onsales, the sheer volume of people trying to buy tickets is astronomical. As a way to throttle their traffic, during onsales Ticketmaster will place visitors into a queue. Normally it counts down from 15 seconds, and at the end of the countdown there is the opportunity for you to move onto the next step and actually view and purchase tickets. If you don’t move to the next level the coundown from 15 seconds will restart. However if you are reading this article you probably know that you can wait around for a long time and never make it to this stage. Nothing is more frustrating than missing out on tickets for your favorite artist, but the good news is that if you miss out on getting tickets from Ticketmaster you are not out of options yet.

The Secondary Ticket Market

When Ticketmaster sells out of tickets, you’re only real choice is to turn to what is known as the “secondary ticket market.” The secondary ticket market is what the marketplace where tickets are resold is known as. These tickets can come from professional ticket brokers (also known as scalpers) as well as from causal fans who attend the concert or event by selling some if their tickets. Sport fans are known for buying season tickets, but even the most diehard sport fan can have trouble attention all the home games. After all there are 81 home games for every baseball team! So fans will buy their season tickets and resell some of them to recoup some of the cost. Concert goers can also buy more tickets than they plan to use, and then resell the extras to make up some of the cost. It used to be that most tickets were resold at more than face value, but in recent years more and more tickets are being sold at prices below their face value.

The most well-known ticket reseller is StubHub, which was acquired by EBay in January of 2007. While StubHub might be the best known ticket reseller, it is not the only one. In fact there are several healthy competitors to StubHub, and the secondary ticket market is one of the most competitive markets out there. According to the Ticket News Top Seller Rankings, TicketLiquidator is the second largest seller of tickets on the secondary ticket market. TicketLiquidator spends a lot less on advertising, and can use those savings to charge less for tickets. TicketLiquidator says they have anywhere from 60,000 – 80,000 events tickets at any time. Another of the larger ticket resellers is actually a subsidiary of Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster purchased TicketsNow for $265 million in 2008. Almost immediately the site and its relationship with Ticketmaster caused headaches for the parent company. Fans of Bruce Springsteen might recall the uproar the followed Ticketmaster redirecting Bruce Springsteen fans to TicketsNow, where customers went on to purchase tickets at prices up to five times higher than the face value of the ticket. Despite their differences, all the sites are reputable businesses and do have a money back guarantee. Additionally, there are several aggregator sites out there that can compare ticket prices. At the end of the day its up to you as a consumer to find the best value for the amount of money you are willing to spend. You can also do some research on review sites for ticket resellers, or if the site has a customer feedback section you can get an idea of how satisfied customers are there. You might also want to ask friends or use social media to see what other people are using to buy tickets online.

Buy tickets outside of the venue

The last choice to buy tickets to a sold-out event is to but the tickets form a scalper outside the venue. This is the riskiest way to buy tickets, partly because of the abundance of counterfeit tickets. Once you get to the gate and the usher tells you the tickets are no good, the scalper will be long gone. The other risky aspect to buying tickets outside the venue is that you never know what will be available. There is also a good chance that ticket brokers outside the venue will be charging much more than you would have paid at an online secondary ticket site. However as a last resort you can find some good deals from buying outside the venue.

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